Thursday, January 31, 2013

My Running and Cycling History

This blog started as a history of my body weight, currently around 138 lbs. and fitness, currently not so good - not so bad.  Specifically, it was to be a blog about how I might improve my race results by getting lean.  I know, that sounds just fascinating!  I had read an article online months ago about noted running coach and author Jack Daniel's.  That's what got me thinking about my weight.  He wrote the book Daniel's Running Formula.  As a triathlete I love data so this intrigued me.  Fortunately I was also able to find Daniel's running tables online - more on that in a different blog.

From weight and fitness, my blog morphed into a story about my need to run more to improve my overall race results and how Daniel's Running Formula might help.  Running more was prescribed to me recently by Chip my 2011 Ironman Florida teammate.  My blog finally morphed a second time into my history as a runner and cyclist.  That's where it landed.  You can't look ahead without looking back!
Neil, Chip, Richard, and Ken before 2011 IMFL
So, on with some history.  We'll start around 1975 when I was still in high school.  I've been relatively thin all my life.  I suppose much of that is the result of genetics. Which I suppose is also the same reason I'm short, I have perfect (though wide) feet, and I despise trimming the hedges.  That last one is definitely a character flaw.

As a kid, my brothers and I were always outside doing something.  We rode our bikes everywhere.  There was nowhere in Jacksonville Beach or the adjacent communities of Neptune Beach, Atlantic Beach, and occasionally Ponte Vedra Beach where we didn't ride our bikes.  As I got older I focused more on fitness-centric activities.  I ran to get in shape for the US Army which I joined in 1982.  

My first competitive run was in basic training.  I remember it was a 15-mile buddy run.  Me and my buddy were the second pair to finish.  We had to finish as a pair, hence the name "buddy run".  I can remember encouraging my buddy to run.  He was the second fastest runner in my platoon.  I was the first.  In our company we were 3rd and 4th.  We were trounced in the buddy run by the winning pair of recruits.  After basic my weight went from 149-lbs down to only 123-lbs in about a year.  I was running a lot while at my training station in Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama.  I was still not doing any races.

While stationed in El Paso, Texas at my first permanent party assignment I ran the Fort Bliss half-marathon in the winter on 1983/4.  I came in 5th overall.  There were only a few runners, maybe 30, if I remember correctly.  I still remember my time 1:29:32.  The first 4 finishers got the opportunity to represent the base at a marathon in Washington, DC.  Around the same time, I also remember falling out of a company run.  I had terrible shin splints.  I could run all day on my own but the braking I had to endure to slow down to run with my company was killing me.  For a short fella I had a long stride.  In Huntsville I worked out with a martial arts friend.  He had taught me how to stretch like a 12 year old Olympic gymnast.  I could literally do straddle and right leg splits.  I went to the base clinic to get some relief from the pain.  I found none.  The army doctor, PA or whomever, had no knowledge of running related injuries.  A week later and a second trip to the clinic got me better results.  I was examined by a doctor qualified to make a diagnosis.  I say qualified because he had a book about running right there on the corner of his desk.  My treatment was no running with the company.  He gave me 2 weeks off.  I think I was still allowed to run on my own.  That cured me.  The pain was gone.  While in El Paso, Texas I bought my first bike.  It was a 1983 Raleigh Sovereign 10-speed bike.

1983 Raleigh Sovereign
After a brief stint overseas in Germany, from late 1984 through 1986, I got out of the service in 1986.  My FAA career in Georgia started soon after.  I don't know what happened to my Raleigh but I bought a new Trek 1500 road bike in 1989.  I rode the heck out of that thing.  I also ran.  I raced in both foot races and a few triathlons.  My work occasionally sent me to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.  I brought my bike to OKC and rode there.  I also entered some foot races in OKC.
Harvey, Sam Cobb, me, and Pat in Macon, Georgia around 1990
It was while I lived in Griffin, Georgia at around the same time when I ran my 5K PR in 18:21.  I'm sure the course wasn't USATF certified but I'll take it anyway.  I also ran a 10K foot race in Brooks, Georgia.  I finished in 39:40.  That was also around 1991.  The 10K race was run after I had worked all night and drove to the race loaded up on coffee to stay awake.  The Brooks course was not as generously executed as the Charles Harris which everyone in Atlanta knows is the must do race for Peachtree Road Race 10K qualifying.
The 1991 Iris City 5K
I'm on the left (# 470) in the above picture.  I finished second overall in that race but there's no mention of that in the caption under the picture.  I had to search past race results on after rediscovering this picture saved by my mother so long ago.  Apparently, Mr. Rob Hollister (# 473) is still living in Georgia, racing, fast and, dare I say it, likely to kick my butt again at our next competition.  Good for him!
1991 First National Bank of Griffin Iris City 5K Award
From Griffin I moved to Decatur, Georgia.  Susan and I lived there from 1993 through 2004.  During that time I ran the 1994 Atlanta Track Club's Thanksgiving day half-marathon with Ben Geddy.  Ben was the boyfriend of one of Susan's girlfriends.  I ran the race wearing Susan's girlfriend Nancy's bib in a finish time of 1:54:55.  I was wholly unprepared and poorly trained for the race.  The post-race treatment for my swollen knees did more harm than good.  Instead of applying ice to reduce the swelling I took a hot shower as I rushed to get ready for dinner.  This caused my knees to swell even further.  It was the wrong medicine.  I could hardly walk that night.  It was as if my knees fused together.  Since then, I head straight to the medical tent to ice my knees after a big race.  I also keep an anti-inflammatory medication like ibuprofen in my car, just in case.  I spent the next 10 years or so running 4 or 5 miles occasionally and feeling the results of my unskilled and untrained first-aide to my hurt knees.
Foot Race Picture from around 1994
Fast forward to 2009.  Susan and I are now living near Jonesboro.  In Jonesboro we helped organize a local foot race, the 15K and 5K Lake Spivey Road Race.  That was the nudge I needed to start running again after a long hiatus and I ran the Run For The Kids 5K in Vinings that year.  A downhill course that makes even the slowest runner feel like an Olympian.  I finished just out of the money in 4th place in my age-group.  I had hardly trained so I was feeling good!
My 1989 Trek 1500 (image taken in 2006 before I donated it to charity)
Since that first 5K race, as a masters runner, in 2009 I've run lots of races and I usually do well.  I've also gotten three new bikes.  My 1989 Trek 1500 was donated to charity in 2006 after spending a dozen years in the basement collecting dust.  Fortunately my running and cycling seems to have restored my knees to almost 100%.  I'm optimistic that my 70.3 training and, later in 2013, my 140.6 training will improve my foot race results during the year.  It would be nice to go into my 140.6 training taper knowing that I'm as fit and  fast as I once was.

My Race Personal Record List
5K: 18:21 in the 1991 First National Bank - Iris City 5K in Griffin, Georgia and more recently 18:47 in the Aubrae Gunderson Memorial Scholarship 5K 2011 in Conyers, Georgia - Race Report
6K: 28:43 at the 2010 Golbin Gallop in Locust Grove, Georgia
8K: 35:42 in the 2010 Super Summer 8 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
10K: 39:40 in the 1991 Brooks 10K in Brooks, Georgia and more recently 39:52 in the 2011 Charles Harris 10K in Tucker, Georgia - Race Report
15K: 1:01:57 in the 2011 Peachtree City Classic 15K in Peachtree City, Georgia - Race Report
Half-Marathon: 1:29:32 in the 1984 Fort Bliss Half-Marathon in El Paso, Texas
Marathon: 3:31:57 in the 2011 Museum of Aviation Marathon in Warner-Robins, Georgia - Race Report
Half Ironman: 5:01:54 in the 2010 Ironman Augusta 70.3 race in Augusta, Georgia - Race Report
Ironman: 10:49:25 in the 2011 Ironman Florida race in Panama City Beach, Florida - Race Report

Thanks for reading.

Glasses for the Trainer

If you wear glasses and you plan to ride a bike trainer this winter then you might want to think about getting a pair of these glasses.  I started wearing reading glasses about two years ago.  Before that I had 20/20 vision.  Now, at 51 years of age, my eyes need a little help.  I have a great pair of stylish Oakley bi-focal reading glasses.  They're cool and lightweight but they slip off my head after a few minutes on the trainer.  My expensive Oakley's don't hold a candle to my cheap CliC magnetic reading glasses in the area of stick to your headedness.  Other glasses fall the floor but my CliC's keep hanging on.  They're perfect for the trainer.  My wife bought these for me at the local pharmacy for about $20.  Black is not the only color.  They come in several style and colors.
CliC glasses stay put
CliC glasses hanging around the neck
CliC glasses magnetic fastener open
CliC glasses magnetic fastener closed
The view from the saddle
A pair of glasses that won't fall off of your head while your leaning over, sweaty, and swaying left and right on the trainer may not be ground breaking but, if they work and these do, it's one less thing to worry about.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, January 28, 2013

ATC PTC 10K Race Report

The 2013 Atlanta Track Club Peachtree City 5K and 10K was Saturday, January 26th, 2013 at 8:30am.  This is a low key race which is part of the ATC’s Grand Prix Series.  That just means ATC members can run in certain ATC races to earn points toward some sort of award at year end.  As an ATC member the race was free for me.  There were no t-shirts or awards.  That’s what they mean by low key.  The race did have chip timing though.  My running buddy Jim Macie and I both signed up for the 10K race.  Jim paid only $10.  Jim ran the Key West half-marathon the weekend before so he was feeling a little weary of his performance. I hadn't run at all in two weeks.  I guess I would categorize myself as well rested.

I had run the race in 2011.  The 2013 course had been changed since then.  The new course started at The Frederick Brown Jr. Amphitheater.  This is the same location as the Peachtree City Classic 15K race in October each year.  The 5K and 10K courses both finish on the cart path a short distance from the start.  Here's a link to my 2011 Race Report.

My race results for 2011 were pretty good. I placed 4th in 45-49 age-group with a finish time of 42:10.  One thing I noticed about the new course was that the tunnels didn't seem to bother me as much as they had in the past.  That's probably because it was slightly overcast and my eyes didn't have to adjust as much as if the Sun were super bright.
Jim and I arrived at the registration table shortly before 8am.  The temperature was around 40-degrees with the Sun occasionally peeking through the clouds.  We both tried to limit our clothing for the race knowing we’d both heat up soon after the start.  I decided on tights and a long-sleeve Under Armour shirt.  I left my jacket, beanie, cap, gloves, and a pair of running pants on the tree near the start.

I put on my Garmin 910XT and heart rate monitor strap just before the start.  My goal was to record my heart rate during this full-out 10K race.  I’d heard that a good way to identify your maximum heart rate was run a 10K and use the average heart rate as your maximum for training purposes.  I gave Jim, who was a few feet behind me at the start, a quick wave. 

The race started and I was off.  As always I wanted to keep the front runners within sight.  Within the first few hundred yards a group of 8 to 10 runners separated themselves from the rest of the field.  I was, for a brief time, the next person in the field.  My pace at the 1-mile mark was 6:01.  Shortly after that I was passed by maybe a dozen runners.  My pace was too fast during the first mile and I blew up.  As the race proceeded I got passed by one, another, and then a third female runner.  I was passed by more male runners too.  As I ran my HRM strap slipped down from my chest to my waist.  That, coupled with the fact that my watch hadn’t synced up with my HRM until well after the race started, meant that my heart rate data from the race was unusable.  I should have tightened the strap and used some water to dampen the strap before I put it on.  The cold probably had a good bit to do with my haste and subsequent data issue.

I finished the race in 5th place in my 50-54 age-group and about 51st overall, including male and female runners.  My finish time was 43:16 which equates to a 6:58 pace.  Jim also finished his race well. After the race we headed back to the race registration area at The Fred and we got some Muscle Milk.  I got a bagel too before we hopped back in the warm car and left for home.  We both noticed that the sun had gone away and it seemed colder at the finish than the start.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Sabores del Plata Review

Sabores del Plata is a Uruguay inspired restaurant located at 6200 Buford Highway in Norcross, Georgia.  The restaurant is situated in a small retail space on the east side of Buford Hwy about 3 miles north of I-285.  Jim and Mary Ann Macie scouted out this place some weeks ago after reading a review by John Kessler in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.  Jim and Mary Ann thought it might be a good location for the next installment of the Hoochie Map Dancers dinner and wine tasting.  Before any restaurant is considered it must have a recommendation from a member.  Jim, Mary Ann, and their niece Polly checked out Sabores del Plata before making our reservations.  Jim also spoke with the owner about the menu and the group's BYOB needs.  Since this was Jim's recommendation, and Susan and I were riding along, we arrived early to get setup and meet with the restaurant staff before the other diners arrived. 

Uruguay, bordered by Brazil and Argentina is located on the Atlantic coast in South America.  Their main export is beef.  The language is Spanish and the majority of the population is of European descent.

Uruguay outlined in pink

Our server, Natalia and Jim discuss the demographics and culture of Uruguay. 

I had Argentinean beer.

Delicious empanadas as an appetizer
Jim Macie brought this delicious wine
Crispy salad
Interesting wall mural
Our group
Another group shot
Skirt steak w/Chimmichurrie sauce
Grilled chicken w/Chimmichurrie Sauce
Another good time was had by all!
Thanks for reading.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Lake Spivey Water Temperature

Susan and I took the boat our for a little ride this afternoon.  The weather was awesome for a Saturday in mid-January.  At one point during the day the temperature on my car dashboard read 81-degrees.  The actual temperature was probably closer to 75-degrees.  Anyway, it was way too warm for January.  I decided to check the lake water temperature when we were out.  I was especially interested in the temperature of the lake because I need to start swimming soon for the Try Charleston 70.3 on April 20th.

Lake Spivey water temperature at 5PM on Saturday, January 12th, 2013
 As you can see, 53-degrees is way to freakin' cold to swim in the lake even with a full wetsuit.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

First MTB Ride is in the Books

My first mountain bike ride at Dauset Trails, or otherwise, went off without a hitch on Sunday, January 6th.  The plan was to meet some friends at the Jackson, Georgia Nature Center at noon.  I had ridden with them previously on the road with Southern Crescent Cycling.  Dauset Trails was just a 30 mile drive south on I-75 from my home near Jonesboro.  I got there about 30 minutes early.
The sign on I-75 south near my exit
You're there when you see this sign on Mt. Vernon Church Road
The entrance to the parking lot with teeny-tiny signs on the trees
Mark and Brenda Herrington were already there and had ridden about 40 minutes before I arrived.  After me, Jason Darcy and Trey Hair arrived along with two other riders I hadn't met before, John and Joey.  We'd run into Neil Blalock, and Brett and Donna Broughton later on the trail.
John, Brenda, and Joey waiting for other riders
Our group of 6 riders head toward the trails
Jason looks on as Alec gets ready to go
A beautiful view of the trees surrounding the trails
John and Mark look on as I try to position the GoPro to shoot behind me
As everyone was getting ready I setup the GoPro Hero3 camera on my helmet.  I took what I thought would be about 18 minutes of video but which actually turned out to be just 5 still images.  Poorly staged images at that!  That's a slight fail on camera setup and a big disappointment.  I had obviously somehow changed the setup from video mode to still picture mode.  I did get a few pictures with my trusty Nikon before we started our ride.

After some thought about using the GoPro and my failed/planned video recording I decided to do a little ciphering   At full HD on the GoPro which is 1920 x 1440 each image is about 7MB.  Forty-eight (48) frames-per-second (fps) of video would create a file size of approximately 336MB per second.  At that rate, one (1) 16GB memory card would fill up in about forty-seven (47) seconds.  That can't be right, either way I think I'll choose a lesser image resolution and a slower fps rate for my next attempt.  I was hoping to get about five (5) minutes of raw video to edit but it was not to be.

Update (1/13/13):  My ciphering was wrong I shot four video segments the following weekend.  With the camera settings still on the default 1920 x 1440 resolution.  Segment #1 file size was 1.37GB for a 6:33 length video.  Segment #2 was 3.66GB for 17:25 of video.  That seems to equate to about 218MB per minute when converted to MP4 format. The same file is about 2.33GB per minute in the .avi file formate as recorded.  I have no idea how that's possible.  My computer says the 17:25 long .avi file is 47.5GB.  I only had a 16GB microSD card.  The GoPro learning curve must be steep and treacherous.
Mark, John, Trey, Brenda, and Jason
Even though the ride was not well documented it went well from my perspective.  I had plenty of energy and power to muscle up the hills.  It was only when I had to navigate between trees and over roots and rocks that I felt concern.  I popped out of my pedals once to traverse the Rock Garden at Sandy Creek and used back brake and one foot to hop down a steep leaf covered decline.  Not bad overall I'd say!
Our course took us all over the trails.  I'm not familiar with the names of each section although I did remember the entrance to Indian Springs State park as we rode past.  The park was the venue for a Tri The Parks sprint triathlon I had done in 2012.

I have to say that my legs had not burned like they did on Sunday in quite a while.  Therefore, I'm optimistic that this type of interval training will improve my power and speed on the road bike.  I'm looking to improve my bike speed at Ironman Florida 2013 by around 20 minutes.  Mountain biking should help.

One last thing.  I have to ask myself, what was I thinking when I thought I'd be riding my MTB bike at night?  It's hard enough staying on the trail in full daylight I don't know what I'd do in almost total darkness.

One more thing.  My Bontrager RXL MTB shoes fix most excellently!  I put them on, cinched'em up, and didn't even notice that they were there until I took them off two hours later.

Thanks for reading.

Bike Storage and Stuff

I've got a Racor ceiling mounted rack for bikes in the garage - four (4) hoists in total.  One hoist has my grandson's bike on it for his visits and another has an extra set of wheels.  See my previous post on My Bike Rack.  Susan's bike (not shown) is currently leaning against a set of shelves in the garage just below the wakeboard at the bottom of the picture below.
A bike hoist in the garage
My road bike on the trainer in the bedroom
My bike gloves and Garmin 910XT on the end table in the bedroom
A bowl near the garage door full of sunglasses, Ironman ankle straps, charging cables, truck keys, and a headlight
A plastic box in my garage full of water bottle cages, tubes, tools, instruction booklets, and much more
My mountain bike in the garage leaning against a table full of bike stuff
With two (2) road bikes, a tri-bike, a mountain bike, a 20" kid's bike, extra wheels, and cold weather clothes, my house is full of bike stuff.  It's on the table as I walk in the door.  It's on the floor in my garage.  It's on the floor in my bedroom.  How can I organize all this stuff?  I haven't been able to park my truck inside the garage in months.  I'd love to organize all my stuff in a single unit with drawers for most small items - that is easy to transport.  Does such an item exist?  Maybe separate bins for each bike is the solution.

Where or how do you store your bikes and stuff?

Thanks for reading.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Before my first MTB Ride

I thought I'd post a few pictures of my mountain bike before I take it on its maiden voyage on Sunday.  In the 10 days or so since I got the bike I've only ridden it to the end of my driveway once and a second time took me a distant three houses passed my driveway.  Its been cold, with the daily high temperatures of around 50-degrees Fahrenheit since Christmas.  The low temperatures have been in the 30's.

It's also htken me several days to outfit my bike for the journey ahead.  I finally got my MTB shoes last week.  They're black Bontrager RXL shoes - wide.  I had to special order them, of course.

Sunday will be my first official MTB ride.  A trip to Dauset Trail for a noon ride is scheduled.  Some of Southern Crescent Cycling's best MTB'ers should be there too.  I'm sure that I'll be the guy in the back making all the noise as I change gears trying to decide which out of 30 gears available is the best.

I plan to bring the GoPro Hero3 camera the club purchased as a Christmas present to its members.  So, you can look forward to some cool mountain biking videos in the coming months.

Thanks for reading.